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Time To Move On? Top 10 Tips On How To Resign Gracefully

With the prospect of a new role on the horizon, arguably the hard bit is done. You have aced your interviews, impressed your new employer, and are no doubt looking to the future and the next steps in your career.

But even with the excitement of a new position looming, there is still an incredibly important step to take in making that move – handing in your resignation to your current company.

Here we offer our top tips on how to address this often-uncomfortable conversation – and ultimately remain professional, and on good terms as you exit the business.

1. Communicate To Your Manager First

With an exciting new role to look forward to, it can be tempting to tell close associates and friends, however the first person who should hear about it is your reporting manager. If a senior partner, or even your Manager themselves hears about your intention to leave from another colleague, it goes without saying that it won’t leave a favourable impression which is ultimately what a well-thought our resignation is trying to achieve.

Arrange a time to speak to your Manager and let them know the situation first. Face-to-face is ideal as it minimises any misunderstandings or miscommunication, although video call would also work well for those who work remotely or in order to expedite the process.  It is best practice to verbally tell your Manager of your intention to leave along with the reasons that have led to that decision as it is highly likely that you will be asked both why you are leaving and where you are going to – so it’s wise to have a response planned.

2. Be Prepared For Conversations Around Negotiation

Whatever the reason or reasons for leaving your current company, it is always worth having a preliminary conversation before you start looking for new opportunities, to see if those initial reasons may be overcome. If, however that conversation didn’t take place, you should nevertheless consider what you would do should a counter-offer be on the table once your make your intention to resign clear.

In the current market, where demand for talented professionals is outstripping supply, this is exceptionally common, so you need to at least be prepared for such a scenario and ask yourself, would you actually accept a counter-offer?. The answer to that lies in ultimately revisiting the reasons you wish to leave in the first place.

Counter-offers take many forms including increased pay, a promotion, enhanced benefits, or a combination of all of those, and there is no doubt that it can feel flattering to be in that position. However, research suggests that 80% of people who accept a counter-offer tend to leave within 6-12 months of accepting. Is it likely you’ll also be part of that statistic?

3. Prepare Your Resignation Letter

Once the decision to leave is final, you must put this in writing. When it comes to your resignation letter, it should be short and polite. Within the letter itself, it is not necessary to justify your reasons for leaving your current company or go into lengthy explanations as you can are likely to have (or have had) a more informal chat about this with your reporting Manager. The document is simply to cover the legalities of ending your contractual agreement with your employer and will be kept on record, so details like the date of the notice, confirmation of notice period, and last working day should be accurate.

You may wish to use the formal communication as an opportunity to highlight things you are grateful for – skills you have learnt, help and advice you have received, and opportunities to boost your career that have been offered, but that is not mandatory. Do, however, avoid the temptation to criticise your colleagues, boss, partners or clients.

4. Discuss Those Finer Details

Your Manager will mostly likely want to discuss with you the finer details around how and when you will let colleagues know you are leaving. You may wish to inform them individually, or as a group, or have your Manager tell them for you.

You also need to confirm your notice period and how this effects your new role start date. This should be communicated clearly in your contract of employment, but it is always worth a conversation on whether it is realistic to shorten this (if desired by any party) or even extended on request.

Whether your notice period is 2 weeks, 2 months or anything in between, its important you are aware of this before giving your new employer a start date that you may not be able to commit to. Be prepared that in some cases, you may be placed on gardening leave rather than working your notice period.

Garden leave (or gardening leave) is when an employer tells an employee not to work either part or all of their notice period. This could be because the employer does not want the employee to have access to sensitive or confidential information they could use in a new job (Source: ACAS) In this case, you are still employed by your employer, just not working for them and therefore you are still entitled to your salary and contractual agreements in this period of time.

5. Plan A Robust Handover

Scheduling time to plan for a smooth transition shows you to be a true legal professional and not someone who leaves a business or an employer in the lurch, or projects unfinished. Think about your specific areas of responsibility – current caseloads, unfinished assigments, urgent jobs and upcoming commitments, as well as information on your clients that your successor or wider team will need.

If possible, invest some time in training up your successor, or at least making formal handover notes, to ensure you minimise the impact on the company when you leave and once again, keep the working relationship positive.

6. Start Clearing Your Desk

Once colleagues are aware that you are leaving, you can start to clear your desk so that it’s ready for the next occupant. Removing paperwork, filing and archiving, binning wastepaper and taking personal items such as photographs home will ensure your workplace is ready, clean and welcoming for the next person.

7. Stay Committed

It may be tempting to spend time planning what you will do in your upcoming new legal role (and if time permits, there is definitely merit in keeping in touch with your new employer during your notice period – following their social media accounts to keep track of the latest news, be aware of any networking events etc) but nevertheless, you are still being paid to do your current job – so it’s important to remain committed to that role until the very end.

Remaining an active team player, working hard up to the last minute and completing casework where possible will be noted by colleagues and your employer and will ensure you leave on a positive note – and your professional reputation within the working community follows you as you move on.

8. Embrace The Exit Interview

If you are offered an exit interview by your employer, it’s always a good idea to take that opportunity while you can. These usually take place between yourself and a HR manager and are aimed at establishing any way in which they can improve the firm or addressing issues of which they may be unaware of.

While you can, at this point, bring to light any concerns you might have, keep your observations professional and your criticism constructive, always keeping in mind not to burn any bridges.

Taking these steps will not only provide closure on your previous role but will ensure you leave your company a well-respected and professional ex-colleague, with whom your former team and senior partners will be happy to network with and recommend in the future.

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your career, call one of the Clayton Recruitment team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help and market insight, your transition can be smoother and quicker – and get you the outcome you’re looking for.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Fact: Accepting a Counteroffer is a Bad Idea

  • December 3, 2019

Your accountant has a central role within your business, so the notion that they might be about to leave can be an alarming one.

But the reality is that accountants rarely stay in the same place for a long time; they are often recruited onto bigger contracts and higher salaries elsewhere – you probably won’t even know if your accountant is planning on leaving.

However, there are some signs that you can look out for.

As a recruiter, I am used to hearing the reasons that top accountants give when leaving their jobs. Starting a family is a primary example – considering leaving for a higher salary in preparation for an addition to your family, and also planning on a reduction of hours to accommodate new parental responsibilities are both reasons candidates regularly give.

Perhaps they have simply been given a better salary and compensation with a firm they have been on the radar of for a while – this article contains the signs to look out for which might indicate your accountant is about to leave.

1. Their Performance Has Dropped

A drop in performance indicates that your accountant is either less engaged with their role, which often leads to the desire for a new role, or worse still, that they are actively looking for a new job and they have mentally checked-out of your business.

Have they started giving less detail in their financial statements, making careless mistakes or missing deadlines which is out of their normal character?

Keeping regular reviews and even informal chats every couple of weeks to discuss your accountant’s projects and how they are generally feeling at work can prevent negative emotions from harbouring, and solutions can be worked out for problems before they become serious.

2. They Have Closed Themselves Off

Any good leader will be able to recognise a change in their employee’s behaviour. An unfavourable change in behaviour might mean a few different things – your accountant might be going through personal issues, they might be finding their current work too stressful, or not challenging enough; or it might mean that they have disengaged from your company.

An informal chat with your accountant who appears to have shut down might reveal that they are struggling – and this is something you can help them with. Likewise, if they tell you that everything is fine, but continue to be secretive with phone calls and checking their phone, or missing work without any good reason – more on this next – it could signal that they are about to leave.

3. They Have Begun an Irregular Working Schedule

A sudden irregular working schedule might mean that your accountant has things going on outside of work – it is not up to your employees to tell you every detail of their personal lives, but a sudden or drastic change to their once steady routine could be a sign of imminent disruption.

Working late to reconcile the accounts and coming in late regularly over consecutive weeks are two different things – the latter might mean that your accountant has been attending interviews elsewhere.

4. They’ve Got a Big Life Change Going On

If you share a great relationship with your accountant, there’s a good chance that they will divulge their personal news with you. You will probably be aware of any significant life changes your employee has going on – a house move, planning a wedding, looking after a family a member, etc.

Sometimes the personal circumstances of an employee mean that they are forced to reassess their career. Your accountant might not necessarily want to hand their notice in, but a significant change in their personal life might make it the only option.

Have they been mentioning starting a family recently, have they been decreasing their hours to take care of an elderly parent? Life comes at us all fast, but being mindful of at what stage your accountant is at in their personal life should mean that you are better equipped to predict their career movements.

Unfortunately, however, sometimes when employees leave there have been warning signs, but their employer has failed to notice them.

5. They Have Demonstrated That They are Less Fulfilled

If only every employer listened to their employees! Many times, when a great employee like your star accountant leaves, they have been exhibiting visible warning signs that their employer has overlooked.

Quite often, candidates who we work with tell us that they are planning on leaving because they have been unhappy in their accountancy role and have tried to offer solutions to the company to no avail. A recent accountancy candidate who I placed in a great new role had been vocal about their previous company updating their recording systems for over a year, and nothing was ever implemented to help her out. In the end, she left to work for a more dynamic company and her old employer was surprised to receive her notice – he simply hadn’t been paying attention to the needs of his staff!

Finally

Actively listening to your key employees can prevent a surprising notice on your desk, but unfortunately, sometimes your accountant will leave for a career move, and there is little that can be done to avoid this.

If you need help in locating talented accountants or building your talent pipeline so that you have a great candidate in mind for the future of your business, get in touch with us to discuss our recruitment solutions.

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989, and during that time has built up an excellent reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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Seal the deal with a tempting employment offer

  • August 6, 2018

You have interviewed the perfect match and you want to be sure that the offer you put in front of the candidate is tempting enough for them to bite the first time. How can you be sure that they’re as enthusiastic as you are? When you’ve worked so hard to recruit the ideal candidate you want to get them into the role without delay.

This guide gives you the lowdown on putting the right offer together handling the offer stage efficiently, effectively, ending with you employing the very best talent for your business.

Communication

According to research carried out by CareerArc, 60% of candidates think that better employer communication would improve their experience. Don’t leave your candidates guessing what might happen: explain the next steps at the interview stage, manage their expectations and ensure that if you say you will follow up by a certain date, you do – even if it’s just to say that there’s no decision yet.

When you’re ready to make an offer, a phone call will give you another chance to speak with the candidate and gauge their interest level. If they seem pleased and verbally accept an offer of employment, you can feel reassured that it’s the right time to make a written offer.

Speed

As with communication, the speed with which an offer is made affects the employee experience. And even if you decide not to make an offer, let the candidates who interviewed know. CareerArc also found that those who never heard about a job were three and a half times less likely to apply to that business again. A week allows time to consider your options, two weeks might see the candidate starting to lose interest.

It’s also a good idea to stipulate how long the offer of employment stands for. Seven days is usual, although you may wish to adjust this as per your company’s circumstances. If a candidate hasn’t accepted within a week, it could well signal that they weren’t quite as bought in as you’d hoped.

Use employer branding to your advantage

Treat your employees – and potential employees – as you would your clients. Demonstrate why it’s so good to work with you and what other employees have gained, both professionally and personally, from working for your business. Not only will a strong employer brand attract candidates to you, it’ll encourage them to accept your offer, and it will also help to retain them once they come on board. Check out our extensive guide for more on employer branding and why it’s so important.

Avoid the minefield of counter offers

You’ve found an outstanding candidate, made an offer and are eagerly awaiting them to return their signed contract. What you get in return is a counter offer. Maybe the candidate has had more money offered by their current employer or a competitor. Maybe they’re requesting a more extensive benefits package. Counter offers aren’t the end of the world and can be very revealing about what motivates the candidate you’re interested in.

But don’t get drawn into a bidding war. You may win the battle, although candidate indecision raises a red flag, and if they are playing off two parties for their own gain it begs the question as to whether they’re the kind of team player you want in your business. A trusted recruitment partner will be able to screen candidates for motive initially, which will help to avoid a counter-offer situation and make a first initial successful offer considering all motivations.

Non-starters

It’s frustrating, although keep it in perspective and remember that life happens. Give the benefit of the doubt to the candidate and – maddening though it may be – resist the urge to go in guns blazing if someone doesn’t show as there may be a simple explanation. And keep your employer brand in mind: if the candidate has a bad experience they’ll tell their network and that might make recruitment difficult in future.

The best offer

All stages of the recruitment process require careful thought and planning, and none more so than the offers stage. This crucial final hurdle to placing the right candidate decides the success of the whole operation.

If you’re in need of some support in navigating this – or any – stage of your recruitment process why not contact Clayton Recruitment, either online using our call scheduling service or contact form.

Alternatively, you can phone us on 01772 259 121 – we’d be happy to help you seal the deal with promising candidates.

And if you do find yourself in the position of having to deal with a counter offer, you may find our blog ‘How to handle a counter offer situation’ helpful.

You may also like to download our latest report on trends in recruitment: The 7 critical recruitment trends for businesses that will impact your talent pipeline in 2019.

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How to handle a counter offer situation

  • January 22, 2018

You’ve found your ideal person for the role: they tick all of the right boxes and you can’t wait to get them on board. But after you’ve offered them the job, they suddenly aren’t sure. Their current employer is equally keen to retain them and has made a counter offer to incentivise them to stay. What should you do next?

Of course, all firms want to retain their best talent and a last-ditch attempt to encourage highly in-demand candidates to withdraw their application, is not an uncommon scenario. However, there are several steps that you can take to minimise the risk and ensure the role you are offering, remains a viable option.

Determine why they want to leave

Preparing for a counter offer needs to begin at the very first stage of contact with prospective employees. Asking ‘Why do you want to leave your current job?’ is an important part of understanding the candidate’s motives and aspirations. If their only reason for looking for a new role is to get a pay rise or a little more responsibility, their current employer can easily address this with a counter offer which includes a salary increase or a change of job title. During the interview process, consider which job seekers are interested in the full opportunity that you’re offering.

Cover counter-offers at interview

It’s totally fine to ask a candidate during the interview stage what they would do if their current employer asks them to stay. It may be uncomfortable, but if it is clear at this point that they aren’t totally sure that they really do want to leave, question them further to find out the full picture.

Get them engaged with their future colleagues

The onboarding process can start from the moment that a candidate accepts your offer and can also be extended to include candidates who are still weighing it up. It’s a good idea to invite them in again to meet with key colleagues, such as line managers, peers and the leadership team. Personal connections can make it easier for people to envision themselves as part of the team.

Keep in touch

When recruits are seeing out their notice periods – which can be as long as three months – their excitement at getting a new job can fade a little. Plus, of course, their current employer still continues to see them each day and may well be doing all that they can to dissuade them from leaving. Be sure to stay in contact with your new hire until they join you on their first day. Invite them to team events, where possible. This will help you keep the momentum going and cement your company in their mind as the place where they can’t wait to be.

Sell your strengths

If you’ve done all of that and a potential new employee still is having a moment of uncertainty about switching jobs, remind them of the opportunities in your organisation. Pinpoint what initially made them apply for a job with you – career progression, improved work/life balance, an appealing organisational culture or more challenge – and reassure them that those benefits exist if they make the move.

Use a recruiter

A good recruiter will ascertain why the applicant is searching for a new role before putting them forward for interview. Often, jobseekers reveal information to recruiters that they don’t at interview and some do say that they are really only looking for a bargaining tool! Recruiters will be well-versed in scenarios where counter-offers emerge and they’ll be able to prepare candidates for the possibility that their current employer may try to dissuade them from leaving.

Know when to walk away

The recruitment process works both ways. Even in a skills-short environment, you still want to attract the right person who has enthusiasm for the job: a candidate that needs endless persuasion to join your organisation is unlikely to be right. So, make your first offer your best one: sell the benefits of your company and role throughout the process and let it be the opportunity of working for you that attracts the right talent – not extra perks added to the salary package in a last minute attempt to get them to choose you.

If you would like specialist advice from experts, get in touch today to find out how we can help you find the right talent.

For more advice from the team, check out our other posts.

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Should I accept a counter offer?

  • October 31, 2017

You’ve landed yourself a new job, plucked up the courage and handed in your resignation, and you’re busy planning out your career at your new company. Then your employer takes you aside, expresses their reluctance to see you go and offers you more salary and additional benefits. In an environment of skills shortages, counter offers are commonplace, but should you accept it if offered?

Why did you resign in the first place?

While the thought of your company really wanting you to stay with them might appear flattering, take a moment to consider why you are in this position in the first place.  You made the decision to apply for new job and it stands to reason that there was a sound reason to do so. Perhaps it was because you felt your achievements weren’t being recognised or that there wasn’t the career progression opportunities available to you. So while it might initially seem fantastic that you have received a counter offer, you decided to leave and regardless of what you have been offered, your reasons for doing so still stand.

A question of loyalty

Another important point to consider is what your resignation tells your employer about your commitment to the company. While you might have been the perfect employee, the moment you hand your resignation in your loyalty will always be in question.  So if you’re considering accepting a counter offer think carefully about how you will be perceived at the company afterwards. While you might think that, by enticing you to stay, your boss obviously deems you too valuable to lose, the fact remains that they will look at you in a different way – it’s purely human nature to do so.  And this can have negative connotations for your future at the business if you do decide to stay put.

Is it just a stop gap?

Another complex issue surrounding counter offers is that you don’t know what it going on behind the scenes and the real reason your employer is asking you to stay.  If your company is experiencing heavy workloads, for example, and doesn’t have ample people waiting in the wings to fill your role, it could very well be that they are viewing the counter offer as a way to plug the gap until a replacement can be found.  And this feeling can be incredibly negative for you and the company – a situation soon arises where your employer is questioning your loyalty to the business and you are consumed with the fear that you might soon be replaced.

Think long and hard before you make the decision

While being offered more money or benefits can initially seem very appealing, our experience shows us that it can lead to a feeling of unease for both employer and employee alike. It’s really important to weigh up the pros and cons before you make a move.  If you decide to proceed with your new job, ensure you thank your boss for the offer and reassure them that you will be committed to your role during your notice period. And if you decide to take up the counter offer, bear in mind that you will probably have to work hard to win back your employer’s trust.

Call the team today for information about how Clayton Recruitment can assist your firm with recruitment and retention strategies. And for more insights from the team take a look at our other blogs and resources.

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